Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Canetti's Corner - February 9, 2011

Welcome to edition No. 28 of my blog on HoustonDynamo.com.

Complete Canetti's Corner Archive

The ice melted, the skies cleared, and the sun shone down on the Dynamo Saturday.

After years of anticipation and hard work, we broke ground on our new stadium. Our dream is finally becoming a reality. Nearly 3,000 people joined us for the joyous and momentous celebration. It was a great day for our organization and its fans.

It was a time to recognize all of the people that helped make this deal happen, led by our great fans, our committed owners, elected officials (such as Mayor Annise Parker, Councilman James Rodriguez, Judge Ed Emmett, and County Commissioner El Franco Lee), our partners at Texas Southern University, our team, and many others.

Saturday marked the culmination of a long approval process and the beginning of a short construction window. Now the work begins, and we forge ahead on what’s expected to be a 15-month building period and an April 2012 grand opening. You can expect to see real work underway next week, pending any unforeseen issues.

Last week, we unveiled some of the latest drawings. In case you missed it, click here to see them. They provide a wonderful vision into what kind of stadium it will be. I personally think it will be among the best soccer stadiums in MLS.

I opened my speech on Saturday by thanking the fans. You are truly the most valuable players in this whole deal. Without your great support over the years, no one would have seen the value in this project or the vision for soccer. The Dynamo appreciate you, and we are committed to making this Your Stadium.

Now, onto a few other things … The team is into its third week of training. The first two weeks have been a bit of a challenge, thanks to the weather. They moved indoors last week at the Texans’ practice bubble for three days of work. Nonetheless, Dom feels positive about the way things are going early on.

We scrimmaged Houston Baptist University on Saturday, and Dom used it as a chance to evaluate the rookies and the four players on trial. Most of the proven veterans watched from the sideline as playing time was dominated by the newcomers. You can read the recap or watch the highlights.

This Saturday will be our first real test, as we go up against FC Dallas in Corpus Christi. It should be an interesting opportunity to see the team, the trialists, and the rookies go up against MLS competition. Technology willing, we hope to provide a video stream of the match right here at HoustonDynamo.com for those who could not make the trip. Check the site on Saturday to follow the game.

We are on the verge of signing Jamaican national team center back Jermaine Taylor. He arrived in town today as we look to complete the deal. Jermaine would give Dom added depth and multiple options in the back (four of them being newcomers). The defenders include Bobby Boswell, Mike Chabala, Hunter Freeman, Jordan Graye, Andrew Hainault, Eddie Robinson, and Kofi Sarkodie.

We are also looking to sign rookie goalkeeper Evan Newton, who we picked in the first round of the supplemental draft. If we complete the signings of Taylor and Newton, the roster would currently contain 10 new players, and there are more to come with four open roster spots, which are reserved for midfielders and forwards.

If you read my last blog, you remember that I urged you to view Dynamo articles on Chron.com and comment. I am going to reinforce this request today after seeing more dominating negative comments by non-soccer supporters. We need to unite and stand strong for our sport. Please take positive action on this site. It will make a big impact on soccer’s growth. We cannot allow the naïve, uniformed naysayers to have the loudest voice.

I went to the Super Bowl on Sunday and, for me, it wasn’t as great as the MLS All-Star Game here in Houston. Certainly I am biased, but that’s my opinion. I say this not to demean the NFL or the Super Bowl, but to indicate how special the All-Star Game was.

Lastly, MLS plans on announcing the schedule tomorrow. Be on the lookout at HoustonDynamo.com.

That’s it for now. Have a great week. I’ll be in touch soon. As always, feel free to email me with questions or comments at ccanetti@houstondynamo.com.